You will have significant experiences. I hope that you will write them down and keep record of them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh your memory of those meaningful and significant things. Some may be funny. some may be significant only to you. some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some may build one upon another until they represent a lifetime of special experience. - President Hinckley

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Trek Day 3

Day 3!  Red got to lead out as we left camp on day 3.  And our first task was (what I felt) the worst hill . mountain we had climbed the entire journey.  It was so strenuous that we had to stop our cart 3 times and block the wheels so we could rest and regroup before climbing again.  It was hard.  Thinking about how hard that climb was - we were thrilled to reach the top, only to round the corner and see a man and wife digging a grave for their infant child.  I tried to make it fake...but the image was too real.  I cried and I cried...I knew it was a doll and not a real baby, but I couldn't imagine trekkiing such a difficult trek and losing a child along the way.  Travis had just gotten into some thorny bushes, so I picked thorns out of his shirt and cried over that loss of that baby.

At the top of the hill while we waited for the rest of the caravan to climb that hill- our little family played games and sat around our cart (while Travis dried his socks) and chatted and laughed and told stories...this is one of the times I wish I had my camera.  Jaden was playing with his button toy, the girls were giggling at stories that Travis told...the boys were intrigued with the Hunting stories and I wish I could've captured some of those moments.

Brother Brigham Young visited us during lunch on the third day.  I appreciated his remarks so much- one thing he said specifically pricked my heart- as he concluded he said "Brothers and Sisters our Heavenly Father is ACUTELY aware of you...each of you.  He knows your struggles,you joys, your anguishes and heartaches."  I loved that he used that word "Acutely"- he made me cry - I felt peace and I knew it was true.
Towards the end of the day we had a devotional about the "Sweetwater Crossing" that the pioneers did.  We didn't have water to go through so they had pictures, music and stories that were amazing.  Really inspiring.  The middle violinist here is Georgi.

As we neared the end of the day - each company had their own devotional.  Our Bishop started us out with some remarks and then let each of the 4 Red Pa's take a few moments.  Travis spoke so sweetly about our experience, about how he loved our kids and how great they were, and how his testimony was strengthened by this experience.  It was sweet - our company truly was amazing!

Tanner during our Red Company devotional.

The rest of the pictures are not necessarily from day 3 - but I wanted to make sure I included all the photos that had our family in them.  

Our sweet company commander (Bishop Perkins, 70 and his wife  Sunny) - the walked every bit with us.  AMAZING!

love my girls (Hannah, Lydia, Georgi, and Julia) L-R

My feet took such a beating...this is before I showered on the night we got home.

The Entire Company (Star Stake Trekkers)

 Red company - during one stop along the way.

Trek Day 2

Mormon Battalion

 Day two arrived and we found ourselves pulling the cart once again up steady grades and inclines.  It was grueling again.  We knew that the "Women's Pull" was going to be that day...I wasn't worried about whether or not I could do  it...I knew I could, I was worried about how hard it was going to be after the trail we had been pulling on.  We came around a corner and up a steady climb for about 15-20 minutes and I could see horses and the flag.  I knew that the Mormon Battalion was near...we got to a resting point and waited for a bit until up came our flag, several men on horseback, and a man beating a drum for the soldiers to march to.  Immediately I was apprehensive.  The spokesman came to the front and read the decree that the government needed the Mormon men in the army...and it was time to heed this call.  Travis leaned down and kissed me and off they went - all the men....there was, for me, an immediate void.  I knew this was coming, I expected it.  But as I watched them walk away and pull 1/2 the carts with them, I was upset.  I could feel the absence of the the Priesthood.  Away they went.  All the women sat in the clearing under the trees and waited.
The boys and men took 1/2 the carts up the hill ( a different route that the girls and women were going to take) they stopped at the top and had a devotional (the Stake YM pres. spoke).  Travis said that he (the speaker) said some really powerful things about women and how men see them and can help them.  It sounded like it was inspirational and uplifting.

**There's my Travis right there in the back.  :)  Love him.


While the men took the carts and had their devotional - we had one of our own.  Our Stake YW president  was our speaker and talked about how we as women could do hard things.  It was beautiful. We had no idea what was ahead of us, but since she spoke of how we were getting ready to do something really hard (since she had already done it when the staff came ahead of time) we knew it was going to be harder than we had expected.  After our devotional we walked a bit up the hill to the 1/2 of the carts that were left for us to pull up.  The task ahead looked daunting.  It was almost vertical to the top.  They teamed us up: 2 families of women per cart.  So, my family went up with another "red" family - the Larson's...we were the last cart to go up the hill.  We could hear cheering of them men as they stood on the sides and watched, we could hear them singing hymns, they weren't allowed to help us at all, except for to block the cart wheels should we need a break.  By the time our cart went up there was no traction left...the ground was soft and beachlike - my legs burned, I was sucking in dust as I heaved up the hill.  I couldn't breathe, my lungs were on fire.  One of my girls (Georgi) as we approached the top started chanting "chesnuts, chesnuts!"  it made me smile.  I didn't realize how many people I knew - my head was down and I pulled with everything I had on the yoke of the cart....I could hear people I knew "...Go, Sister Chesley!, You got this Marie!, You're almost to the top..." etc.  It was encouraging to hear this....I made the mistake of looking up along the sides of the mountain where the men were standing and caught a glimpse of  Kevan Wheelock (the Bishop of 2nd Ward, and our good friend) - immediately I regretted it, I started to tear up and had to regroup...there was no time to cry- I needed my strength - so I didn't look up again until I got to the top and stumbled into Travis.  I couldn't breathe, I was coughing up dust and sand and my legs felt like they were going fall out from under me.  I was sure I was going to pass out. He hugged me and I cried - he cried.  I was exhausted and it took all I had to just hold on to him - and try to breathe through my coughing and gasping for air.  Travis just held me and walked me to the cart.  Eventually, I got my balance back.  

 This picture (above) is the only one I could find that Travis was in.  (He's in the blue shirt with suspenders on standing near the top left.
 This picutre has Tanner (with his hat on his chest) - he was one of our boys.
 This is before the battalion came - we were all gathered in one place while they read the decree.  Branden and Brennan (two of our boys) are in this shot (red bandannas)
 Here is Kevan - I looked up and there he was - looked as strained watching as we were pulling.
 Here's our cart (I'm in the red dress at the left yoke of the cart).

We are behind this group - waiting.

When we got to camp- there was a beautiful overlook for us to look was amazing to see how far up we had climbed.
We took our supplies and set up our tents for night 2.  Our tents had to be set up on top of this crazy brush - luckily Travis and I had taken a nice foam pad to sleep on. :)

That night, we had a devotional- and then a testimony meeting with our families.  Ours was short and Travis and I wish that we would've just had a discussion of the day rather than testimony sharing...we had some of our kids that I think were uncomfortable with testimony bearing.  Oh well...maybe next time.

As we went to bed, Travis and I were exhausted and we kept hearing chatter from one of the girl tents.  We had already gotten in our beds and were openly speaking about how the parents of those girls needed to tell them to be quiet- we had our kids under control why didn't other parents?....eventually we heard a male voice (one of the other Pa's from our company) said they needed to be quiet...we were so grateful.  The giggling quieted and we went to sleep.  The next morning - we were telling our girls about the laughter and giggling that was keeping us awake...only to realize that it was our girls that were doing all the laughing and talking....turns out they kept hearing Jaden (one of our boys) in the boy tent keep complaining that he lost his toy(I had brought each of the kids a button spinner toy and Jaden was ALWAYS playing his).  He kept saying outloud in his tent "Aw, man, I lost my toy, I can't find it..."  the girls found this hysterically funny and just kept laughing about it.  They termed the nickname "Toy Boy" for Jaden the next morning.  :)  Travis and I coudln't believe it was OUR GIRLS that were making all that noise.  So so funny!

Star Stake Trek 2013

Travis and I were a Ma and Pa for our Stake Trek this year.  We were not aloud to bring our camera so I don't have any pictures - hopefully the professional crews that were there with us will have gotten some good ones that I can post when I have access to them.

We had 8 kids. 4 boys: Branden Hales-17, Jaden Arsenault-14, Brennan Klemme-14, and Tanner Wood-15.  And we had 4 girls:  Georgie Mozingo -17, Hannah Boren- 15, Lydia Stimpson- 16, and Julia Larson - 15.  They were amazing!

We pushed/pulled a handcart 21 miles.  We went into it with the attitude that we would go because they asked us.  We came out of it completely enriched and edified.  It was such an amazing experience.  We are forever grateful that we were allowed to go and be a part of it.

Trek Day 1

What an amazing experience our Trek was.  It was such an opportunity to be able to go as a MA and PA with our stake.  I wish that I would've taken my camera to get some of the "family" shots that the professional crews didn't get...but that would be my only regret with the entire experience.    

We did bucket checks with our "kids" on Wednesday night. They all came to the church and we got to meet them and go through their things.  Thursday morning we met at the Stake Center at 7am and heard "Joseph Smith" speak to us for about 20 minutes before we got on the buses by company color (We were red) to go to the trail head.

Our assignment on the bus ride up was to design our family flag.  I gave that assignment to our oldest boy and girl in the family:  Branden and Georgi.   Since writing on the bus was near impossible - they came up with the idea to be the Chesnuts and we decided to design the flag once we arrived.  Little did we know there wouldn't be any good place to write once we got there either.  Our flag was kinda ugly.  I wrote "Chesnuts" in the middle and drew what I thought a chesnut looked like (which turned out more like and alien lifeform.  But it worked. We all signed it and waited to begin our journey.  Now it hangs in our garage.  I love it.

Family Picture before we started on the trail.  Front Row:  (L-R) Georgi  Mozingo, Julia Larson, Me, Lydia Stimpson.  Behind Lydia is Hannah Boren (then to her L), Branden Hales, Brennan Klemme, Jaden Arsenault, Travis.  And then in the cowboy hat in the back is Tanner Wood.  And our company commanders Bishop Larry and Sunny Perkins (with suspenders and hands in pocket).

What I can say about day one - there were some steady climbs during the entire trek- day one had a specific drop down a steep mountain that they had to tether the carts with a rope to even get us down.  It was nuts and that steep decent is how Travis and I both got blisters right off the bat...and we had trained and trained.....hoping not to get blisters.  oh well.  This picture doesn't do it justice as to how incredibly steep it was. - it was ridiculous to go down.
Just after we got down this hill - it was lunch time.  Here we are chilling on our buckets eating and chatting with anyone who wanted to was at this point, I knew I had blistered feet...

At the end of the trail - we rolled into camp to some divine teriyaki chicken for dinner.  The kids had all kinds of activities to do, dancing, stick pull, guns shooting, sack racing, etc.  Travis and I sat on our buckets at our cart because our feet hurt so bad.  We chatted with Jeff and Lisa Wood (also in our company) and a few other couples (Tim and Sharla Jenkins from Purple) .  During that evening's events the "MOB" came...guns blazing, sticks lit on fire, etc.  We were asked to leave the area the Mormons were not welcome.  So, off we went.  We pulled our carts another mile and just before we pulled into camp there was a monster hill waiting for us.At the end of an already long day, this was daunting.  We pulled with everything we had - Travis says for him this was one of the hardest parts of trek (that hill).  There were two "angels" who came and helped us up (Pres. Tanner and Glen Stephenson - the TREK director) they had on white bandannas and helped us push a bit of the hill.  It was brutal.

That night after we got tents set up - we had a small FHE with our kids...scriptures and talked about the day and then the kids were offered "second dinner"  from the food staff...they went and they ate ---hot dogs....I did not. I slept - well sort of....Travis slept - I tried. :)